Friday, March 29, 2013

Fast Handling Technique

This time last year I borrowed from the library Frank Bethwaite, "High Performance Sailing", It was a big book and at times a difficult read. But I have no regrets putting the time into reading it carefully. Many of his observations and theories have stayed with me and since influenced the way I think about sailing.

Frank Bethwaites new book Fast Handling Technique is a far easier book to read, and and I am looking forward to picking it up a second time to find the things I missed.

As a keen intermediate level sailor, I am constantly looking for the answer to the next stage of my development. At this time its my quest is for better boat speed and handling, minimising the use of the rudder, using boat heal and sail trim. This was the lesson for me from Steve Cockerill's boat whisperer videos.

Bethwaite’s theoretical and practical analysis reinforces the point. He argues there are two kinds of boat handling the original and outdated ‘natural’, ‘one handed’ method of using the rudder to steer up in gusts resulting in slow speed and capsizes and the ‘fast’ two handed method of coordinating easing sheets, steering and body movement.

The book is loaded with theoretical and practical observations that apply to all sorts of sailing. I sail a Laser and crew on yachts. I found the setup guides are particularly relevant to yachts and the section contributed by Brett Bayer on Laser setups is invaluable. While I will probably never experience them, it was fun to read about the apparent wind techniques for the foiling Moth, 49er and ice yachts. 

You only need to get one important tip to make a book or talk worth the time and money and this book delivers many. You also get to experience the intellectual approach of a highly acclaimed sailor, trainer and designer.

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